The new lane pattern developed by Nick Hoagland for the 2022 GIBA 11thFrame.com Open has at least one big fan: Shea Bittenbender won Friday night’s sweeper at Cherry Lanes in Dubuque, Iowa by a stunning 185 pins.
Bittenbender totaled 1,315 for five games to earn the $400 first prize in the sweeper, and other than his outlier of a total, the scoring pace was moderate as just 23 of the 60-plus players averaged 200 or better.
Brenden Sramek was second with 1,130 for $340, Zack Denton third with 1,111 for $280, Nick Pate fourth with 1,096 for $230, and Alex Diercks fifth with 1,086 for $200.
Chaise Donner got the last cash spot in 21st with 1,010 for $50
The top 38 scores are attached to this story as a PDF, along with the lane pattern.
Hoagland, the famed pattern designer who designs the patterns for USBC, offered Cherry Lanes director Bob Hochrein his expertise in crafting a shorter pattern than what we have used in recent years, which has been a modification of the 2015 U.S. Open pattern designed by Hoagland for USBC.
I earned Hoagland’s services by making a donation to the Make-A-Wish charity tied to the huge Hoosier Classic college tourney H2M Management runs in Indianapolis, and the plan was to use his services last year, but Hochrein felt he didn't have enough time to thoroughly test the pattern before the tournament.
The pattern Hoagland crafted working with Hochrein is 37 feet with 24.63 mL of Connect oil and pattern ratios by volume of 1.11-1 on the left and 1.66-1 on the right. I imagine there will be a lot of urethane being used and an outside line will be the choice.
Here is what Hoagland said about the pattern: "I was glad to help the tournament out as Jeff was kind enough to make a donation to Make-A-Wish to help the Columbia 300 Hoosier Classic Bowling Tournament to grant wishes! Jeff, Bob and Joe wanted something different, and shorter, and it is a challenge! The pattern should play out for everyone and I do expect urethane to be in play. I think that the pattern will hold up for 12 games due to the fact that everyone’s ball will be outside of the first arrow at the breakpoint; thus saving the track and middle parts of the lane for later in the block.”
The 11thFrame.com Open generally has been feast or famine for lefties and it seemed like trying something different instead of tweaking what we have been using was a better choice.
The challenge is finding something that holds up on the right side for the 12 games on Sunday without having players ending up lofting the left guttercap as happened in 2014. That generally means a pattern that plays from the outside, but it’s very hard to use such a pattern without having lefties dominate. Compensating for that domination can easily shut them out.
We also aim for a challenging pattern with a relatively low scoring pace, which adds to the challenge of crafting the pattern.
I’ll say again something I’ve written and said numerous times: the margin between lefty dominance and shutout, and excessive softness and brutality is smaller now than it ever has been in bowling history. Equity between sides and styles and a middle ground in scoring has never been harder for a lane pattern designer to find.
I think we would gladly would accept a slightly higher scoring pace than preferred if it meant equity left-right and for styles.
There are several names among the sweeper cashers who I am not familiar with, so I’m not sure if they are right- or left-handed.
I did see that lefty Brandon Mooney cashed in 20th, while 2-time and defending 11thFrame.com Open champion Nate Stubler was 32nd at 980.
Qualifying for the 11thFrame.com Open is Saturday, the “Flanagan format” semifinals are on Sunday, and the stepladder finals follow about 4 p.m., with a Facebook live webcast.
The tournament features more than $4,000 in added money from returning sponsors the Dubuque Regional Sports Commission, Diamond Jo Casino, Cherry Lanes, Storm Bowling Products, IAMBowling, and 11thFrame.com.